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Make The Athenaeum Your HomeEvents

Special Events

Make The Athenaeum Your Home

The Athenaeum Rectory is open for guided tours, both individual and group, each Tuesday through Saturday, ten to four o’clock, through Christmas. For more information, e-mail us or call us at (931) 381-4822.

The house is available for special events any day, including evenings and weekends. Indoor weddings, sit-down receptions, and dinners for up to fifty persons can be accommodated. Indoor stand-up functions can be increased to one hundred. When weather permits, outside events using the three-sided veranda and/or gardens around the original water fountain can accommodate up to two hundred people.

A complete kitchen, wedding party dressing areas, and a limited number of tables and chairs are included in the rental cost. Names of local caterers will be furnished upon request. You are invited to schedule your next event in one of Tennessee’s most beautiful historical locations.

  • Bus drivers and tour escorts free, teachers with groups free
  • Motorcoach parking available
  • Restrooms available
  • House is handicapped accessible; restroom is not
  • Costumed docents provided for group tours upon request
  • Luncheons for groups of 12 or more
  • An 1861 fashion show can be arranged for groups in the evening which includes a demonstration of parlor games played during the time period and a tour of the house.
  • Headquarters for the Maury Christmas Historic Homes Tour of Homes, dates to be announced. Details here …

Athenaeum Special Events

Antique Appraisal Fair

Saturday, March 29, 2014 9:00 AM – 4:00pm

Almost everyone has something, a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation, an antique piece of jewelry, an auction purchase, or even a garage sale bargain that they have wondered what the age or value of the piece may be. Many of us have been intrigued by the valuable surprises and sometimes disappointments discovered on television shows like Antiques Roadshow.

To bring this excitement a little closer to home, the Athenaeum Rectory will be hosting an antique appraisal fair on Saturday, March 30th from 9 until 4.

Knowledgeable appraisers from Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, and Columbia will be on-site to give interesting facts and information about your family heirlooms and yard sale treasures. The appraisal fee per item will be $10. All proceeds will support and maintain the  Rectory and the ongoing restoration of the original Smith Family artifacts.

Join us in our efforts to support historic preservation by remembering the past and treasuring the items that, with our heritage, made our homes and historical landmarks homes.

For more information contact the Athenaeum Rectory at (931) 381-4822.

Middle TN Maury County History Fair 2014

April 25 – 26, 2014 Off-site at Rippavilla Plantation 5700 Main St. Spring Hill, TN. Interactive living history demonstrations from Native, Early American, Civil War, Long Hunters, and Victorian Eras. Vintage Baseball exhibition game to be played, tomahawk throwing, weapons demo, flint knapping, Maury Light Artillery, Kids area. Free, fun, and family-oriented educational event.

Friday, May 02 2014 – Saturday, May 03, 2014

Ladies’ weekend is an abbreviated version of our Girls’ School designed for the working woman. You will learn art, period music, period dance, languages, history, penmanship, fashion, and parlor games as well as a side saddle demonstration, tatting, and etiquette. $125 fee includes 4 meals, afternoon tea, supplies for all projects, and a notebook of material. A $35 nonrefundable fee must accompany registration. Period dress is optional but with few exceptions; most dress up as part of the fun.

Ghost Hunt

May 16 and 17, 2014 $50per person (Limited Space) gets you in on a real ghost investigation. Starts at about 6:00 pm to early morning. 931-381-4822 for details and reservations.

BBQ Benefit for the Athenaeum

Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 6:00 to ?

$500 table of 8 or $100 couple BBQ and Auction

1861 Athenaeum Girl’s School

Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Friday, July 18, 2014

This is the big one. No one else in the area hosts as large or involved camp as this. The activities are based around the students experience in art, languages, music (vocal and instrumental), tatting, calligraphy, historic dance and Civil War re-enacting. The end of the week concludes with a commencement ceremony and grand ball.

The cost of the Girls School is $750 and includes 3 meals/day, afternoon tea and supplies for classes. Instruction begins at 7:30 am and ends after period dance practice at 9:30 pm. For added security the young ladies are housed with local families overnight.

Antebellum Yardsale

Saturday, September 27, 2014

One of our ever growing annual events. Clothing, fabric, supplies, etc. used in the 1800s by historical interpreters. Period vendors welcome. Booth space is $20. 

Athenaeum Family Weekend

Friday, Saturday Oct. 17-18, 2014

Come learnt skills that would have been common just a short time ago. Tailored for families, men, women and children. 

Ghostly Dinner

Friday, October 24, 2014 and Saturday, October 25, 2014 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The Athenaeum Rectory will be open at 6:00 pm with dinner served by costumed hostesses at 6:30 pm. The house will be prepared for mourning and mourning customs and tales of ghost experiences will be included in the history tour.

Christmas Tour

Friday, December 5, 2014 and Saturday, December 6, 2014

One of the biggest home tours in the antebellum capital of Tennessee.

Athenaeum GirlsEvents

1861 Athenaeum Girls’ School and Ladies’ Weekend

The Athenaeum Rectory was begun in 1835 as a home for Samuel Polk Walker, a nephew of President James K. Polk. It had been designed by noted architect Adolphus Heiman and built by Maury County’s master builder Nathan Vaught.

He never lived in the house, however, and upon its completion in 1837, it became the home of Rev. Franklin G. Smith and his family. The Moorish-Gothic architectural design, along with its other stylized features, makes it unique among Tennessee’s antebellum homes.

The Columbia Athenaeum School for Young Ladies was founded by the Smiths in 1852 and for over fifty years it enjoyed a national reputation for its quality and breadth of curriculum, which offered courses in mathematics, science, and business…studies which were normally reserved only for young men.

The school offered students well-equipped departments in art, music, history, science, and later on, a complete business and commercial department. The library contained over 16,000 volumes and the department of natural science held over 6,000 specimens, some of which remain and are on display.

Today, The Athenaeum Rectory is owned by The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities and is maintained and operated by the Maury County Chapter of the APTA as a historic house museum. In an effort to continue the outstanding heritage of the original school, two important education events are still offered.

The 1861 Athenaeum Girls’ School will be conducted during the week of July 9 through 15 in 2011. Young ladies age 14-18 come from all over the country, dressed in authentic 19th-century costumes, and study the same courses in etiquette, penmanship, art, music, dance, and the social graces. In addition, they participate in side-saddle horsemanship, archery, and other sports.

The week is highlighted on Friday evening with graduation ceremonies followed by the formal ball to which they are escorted by members of the Jackson Cadets, a local group of young men dedicated to the study of mid-19th century history and customs.

From April 29 – April 30, 2011, a condensed version of the school is offered to women of ages 19 and above. Also attired in 19th-century costume, for two days the ladies participate in the same kinds of activities taught by the same qualified faculty as do the young women.

For more information on the 1861 Athenaeum Girls’ School and 1861 Ladies’ Weekend, you may call (931) 381-4822.